While pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, working with German biotech company BioNTech, announced initial trials suggested its vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective, concerns have been raised over the logistics of distributing the jab.
The vaccine needs to be kept at -70C up until the day it is used to maintain the integrity of the doses’ genetic material – something many GP clinics and care homes won’t be able to do.
Because of this, the University of Oxford vaccine – which can be stored at between 2C and 8C – is expected to be easier to administer in the community and therefore provide the bedrock of the UK’s vaccination programme.
Leading doctors have warned it is “vital that lessons are learned” from the pandemic as the UK’s official coronavirus death toll exceeded 50,000. The latest government data shows 50,365 people died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, making it the first country in Europe to exceed 50,000 deaths.
Cancer referral lockdown figures
NHS England figures show a total of 199,801 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in September 2020, up from 195,196 in September 2019 – a rise of 2 per cent.
This compares with a year-on-year drop of 15 per cent in August, 19 per cent in July and 21 per cent in June.
Urgent referrals where breast cancer symptoms were present – though not initially suspected – were down from 13,475 in September 2019 to 10,963 in September 2020, a fall of 19 per cent.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 11:04
More than 1.2 million food parcels handed out
More than 1.2 million food parcels have been given out during the pandemic, The Trussell Trust has revealed.
The charity said more than 470,000 of its food parcels went out to children between April and September this year, the organisation’s busiest ever six-month period.
Adam Forrest has more details:
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 10:37
Routine treatment admissions down 27% in England
The total number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 27 per cent in September compared with a year ago.
Some 209,562 patients were admitted for treatment during the month, down from 288,230 in September 2019.
The year-on-year decrease recorded in August was 43 per cent, and in July the drop was 55 per cent.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 10:26
Pfizer sells £4.2m shares on day of vaccine announcement
The head of Pfizer managed to sell nearly £4.2m of company shares on the day the it announced its Covid-19 vaccine could be more than 90 per cent effective.
The American firm’s stock price rose by around 15 per cent from $36.40 per share on Friday to $41.94 per share on Monday.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 10:10
Coronavirus ‘is not tired of us’, warns WHO chief
The head of the World Health Organisation has said the public may be tired of Covid-19 but should remain on high alert.
“We may be tired of Covid-19 but it is not tired of us,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the Paris Peace Forum, adding: “European countries are struggling but the virus has not changed significantly, nor the measures to stop it.”
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 09:53
Police swoop on London gym refusing to close
More than 30 police swooped on a gym in north London after the owner refused to close his doors for England’s second national lockdown.
Andreas Michli, owner of Zone Gym in Wood Green, has vowed to keep his establishment open despite new Covid-19 restrictions meaning non-essential businesses are shut until 2 December.
More than 30 officers attended the premises at 6pm on Tuesday and then two van loads of PCs arrived at 8.30am yesterday morning, as reported by The Daily Mail.
Joe Middleton has more details:
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 09:32
More progress needed for Christmas meet-ups
An expert has warned better progress needs to be made in tackling Covid if people are to meet family and friends in Scotland over Christmas.
Professor Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said case numbers were not going down quickly enough despite the current restrictions and that it was “difficult” to look ahead to a time when households could mix indoors.
“Quite understandably, people want to see their friends and families, even just for a few days, over that period and I think to make that possible we need to be making better progress in some parts of Scotland than we currently are,” she told BBC Good Morning Scotland.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 09:24
The UK economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter of the year as the country emerged from lockdown but remains more than 8 per cent smaller than it was before the pandemic.
Official figures show gross domestic product (GDP) grew 15.5 per cent between July and September – the biggest quarterly gain on record – after non-essential shops, pubs and bars re-opened.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 09:09
Accuracy of rapid test may be lower than thought
The accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for coronavirus may be considerably lower than previously indicated, a new study suggests.
The results, published in the BMJ, suggest that if 10 per cent of people given the AbC-19 rapid test had previously been infected, around one in five positive test results would be false positives.
Researchers say these conclusions contrast with an earlier study, not yet peer reviewed, which suggested that the tests gave no false positives.
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 08:41
Vaccine news ‘encouraging for economy’
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said news of a possible effective vaccine for Covid-19 was encouraging and would help lift uncertainty holding back the economy, but that there was still some way to go in trials.
“It’s obviously encouraging us. I mean it’s encouraging for individuals, it’s encouraging for businesses and it’s encouraging for the economy,” he said during a Financial Times event.
“I think we have to be cautious because obviously there’s still quite a way to go in terms of the trialling.”
Chiara Giordano12 November 2020 08:20